Eating disorders

Nutrition therapy for eating disorders. Appetite for life.

Nutrition therapy for eating disorders (Picture Credits: ©LAWJR/pixabay)

Eating disorders do not develop overnight. They evolve, and transitions from a ‘peculiar’ eating pattern to a pathological disorder are fluid.

You may have an eating disorder if…

  • you very strictly monitor and control your weight
  • you mainly compare yourself to other people who appear slimmer than you
  • you only eat in line with dietary plans and forbid yourself the spontaneous enjoyment of indulgent foods
  • you constantly strive to be better and achieve more
  • you often turn to food in moments of failure, disappointment and as a reaction to negative feelings (comfort eating)
  • eating becomes a substitute behaviour rather than something you do to satisfy hunger
  • you have lost sight of the proper amount to eat and perceive even the smallest of meals as opulent
  • you categorise foods as either ‘good’ or ‘bad and dangerous’
  • you no longer feel either hunger or satiety
  • you uncontrollably eat either a lot or a little and suffer from unrestrained fits of eating (binging)

The anti-diet principle

Nutrition therapy treats eating disorders with a plan that rejects dietary restrictions and ‘diet’, ‘light’, or lowcalorie products. The goal is to allow those affected to relearn how to listen to their own body signals and to eat according to hunger and satiety. The aim is to have regular meals. Even moderate amounts of supposedly unhealthy foods such as sweets and fast food are to be incorporated into the diet.

Nutrition therapy process

Step 1: Health and nutritional history

Step 2: Personal nutrition plan

Step 3: Determine key areas of focus for counselling

Step 4: Define counselling period

Step 5: Put plan into action and stay on the ball

What does nutrition therapy entail?

Outpatient nutrition therapy is part of the overall therapy concept (medicine, psychotherapy, oecotrophology). The substance of nutritional therapy depends on the type of eating disorder and the particulars of your case history.

The nutrition plan for eating disorders considers the following aspects:

  • structuring and planning meals
  • determining portion sizes according to individual needs
  • shifting focus from calorie targets to easy-to-follow quantity recommendations, e.g. slices, cups, tablespoons, etc.
  • defining meal composition
  • attaining a balanced intake of all nutrients according to German Nutrition Society (DGE) guidelines
  • individual likes and dislikes
  • gradual integration of previously ‘forbidden’ foods
  • meal plan ideas

You will receive a personal consultation and support in one-on-one sessions. The duration of therapy depends on your goals.

Success is contingent on a number of criteria. In any case it cannot be determined by weight alone, as the symptoms of an eating disorder are far too complex. The important thing is to change rigid, unhealthy eating behaviour step by step into a more flexible, beneficial eating behaviour.

Consultation times

Monday – Thursday: 07.45 am – 12.30 pm
Monday – Thursday: 02.00 pm – 06.00 pm

Making an appointment / telephone consultation hours

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 12.45 – 01.15 pm

What is the goal of nutrition therapy for eating disorders?

One important goal is to achieve a healthy body weight and to aim for an eating behaviour that includes a balanced mix of carbohydrates, fat and protein. The list of forbidden foods should gradually be reduced and regular meal times observed.

The ultimate goal is to relearn eating according to hunger and satiety. Doing this means tuning into your body signals, learning to interpret them and having the courage to experiment with food quantities and choices while eating until hunger and satiety are reliably restored. Relapses into old patterns of behaviour are a normal part of the recovery process. Nutrition therapy will help you learn to deal with them appropriately.

Nutrition therapy goals are achieved when you can say of yourself, ‘I like eating again, including anything that tastes good to me,’ when you have a healthy body weight and consume a balanced range of foods in sufficient quantities.

Gaby Lingath